Tag Archives: Foie Gras

Homage to Paul Bocuse at l’Auberge du Pont de Collonges

We were in Lyon, and had to pay our respects to the legendary Paul Bocuse by visiting his restaurant Auberge du Pont de Collonges.   I knew what I was in for when I made the booking, which was a restaurant and menu that had not changed since 1975.   And yep, it was exactly what I got.  Rich, luxurious, scrumptious and excessive food!

Since I’d gone all the way there, and the chances of returning are fairly slim, I’d decided to go all out and have the Menu Grande Tradition Classique.  Seven courses, which included a whole Bress chicken and dessert trays that you could select anything from.  Just a small piece of advice if you ever go there: make sure you’re hungry!

Before we started, we had the customary amuse bouche which was a lovely bisque.

Amuse Bouche

First course was “scallop of foie gras, pan-cooked, verjus sauce“.  The foie gras was beautifully seared on the outside and soft inside, and it was served with crispy potato lattice on top and a sweet sticky sauce.

Scallop of foie gras, pan-cooked, verjus sauce

Next up we had the famous “Truffle soup V.G.E.” which was a dish created for the French President in 1975. A dish that has been around for over 35 years must be good to stand the test of time.  I’d expected a thick soup under that puff pastry but it was actually a clear soup with veges and truffle.  Be warned: a bowl of this soup was $82 euros!

Truffle soup V.G.E.

The “filet of sole with noodles, à la Fernand Point” was devine!  Lovely soft and sweet sole with a creamy white sauce (which had been lightly grilled to give it that browned taste) with noodles.

Filet of sole with noodles, à la Fernand Point

We then had a palate cleanser which I thought was worthy of mention: “Beaujolais winemaker’s sherbet“.  It was like icy red wine – really powerful and unexpected.

Beaujolais winemaker’s sherbet

Next we were served a whole “Bresse chicken truffled cooked in a bladder“.  It’s quite scary looking (a chicken in a bladder that’s puffed up from the steam whilst cooking) but really delicious!  The chicken was carved up and served with a creamy sauce filled with morel mushrooms, and a side of rice and spring vegetables.

Bresse chicken truffled cooked in a bladderBresse chicken truffled cooked in a bladder

After that we moved on to a “selection of fresh and matured cheeses from La Mère Richard“.  We were presented with a cart full of cheeses of various varieties and could select any that we wanted!  Divine!

Selection of fresh and matured cheeses from La Mère Richard

page1image5416
page1image5688
page1image5960
page1image6232
page1image6504
page1image6776

And then came the “delicacies and temptations”, which again involved a cart full of desserts that we could choose from.  I went for the fruit, crepe and cream options whilst my boyfriend went for the sweetest items in the cart.

 Delicacies and temptations

Last item for us was the “fantasies & chocolates” which was a beautiful stand of chocolates and treats.  Note the figurine on top of the stand (it’s a mini Paul Bocuse!).

Fantasies & Chocolates

Overall, it was quite an experience.  Very old school formal, classic dishes, excessive surrounds, immaculate service, luxurious feel throughout the whole experience.   If you have the means and time, definitely do it.  Being a lover of all things French, especially the food, this was a chance to live and breathe French gastronomy.

Advertisements

Pressed Lobster at Pressoir D’Argent, Bordeaux

When I’d heard that Pressoir D’Argent had a lobster press (and apparently there are not that many in the world), I had to check it out.   What is a lobster press?  It’s a heavy silver contraption that you put the cooked lobster shells into and press it (manual turning of a handle) to get all the lobstery goodness out.

That aside (yes, sounds like a strange novelty!), the restaurant was great.  Hard to believe they were awarded only 1 Michelin star considering the restaurant was gorgeous, the service was impeccable and the food was some of the best I’d ever had (innovative and tasty).

Upon arrival, we had a lovely glass of champagne and a few small treats including gold dusted macadamias (just a bit over the top) and salmon tartare in a crispy cone.

Macadamias in Gold Dustsalmon tartare

For entrees, we had what was described as scallops in foie gras and langoustines and foie gras.  Cooked scallops were encased in a sphere of foie gras and wrapped in savoy cabbage.  It’s then sat on top of a crispy piece of bread, on some tasty foam, and a green sauce.  Whilst it looks a bit weird, it tasted really really good.  The langoustines dish consist of plump juicy langoustines, sandwiching a piece of pan fried foie gras, with foam and champagne/seafood jelly.  Presentation for this was gorgeous, and it tasted fantastic.

Scallops in Foie GrasLangostine with Foie Gras

Then came the lobster.  A few lives ones were presented to us for selection, and then whisked away to be poached.  It all comes back out, and the lobster shells are pressed and the sauce is cooked before us.  The sauce is then served with the poached lobster and a side of rice with veges (so similar looking to Chinese fried rice but didn’t taste anything like it).   The pressed lobster sauce was unbelievably good.  It was like the most intense buttery lobster bisque.

LobsterRice with Veges

We were then given a fruity palate cleanser before moving on to dessert.  For dessert, we ordered what was described as citrus and wow I was totally blown away.  The plate consisted of little pieces of foam, jelly, mousse, biscuit, gelati and cream and it was perfect in every way (balance, texture, taste).  Phenomenally good.

Palate CleanserCitrus

To finish, we had coffee and a beautiful plate of petit fours.  The sweets specialty of Bordeaux is caneles and  we were also given a little box to take away.  The caneles are browned on the outside and a bit chewier, but soft and stickier on the inside.  Very rich consistency, and I can eat lots of them, but in very small bites!

Petit Fours

All up, fantastic dining experience.  All dishes were spectacular and the service was first class.   The restaurant is located in a beautiful building in the main square of Bordeaux.   I loved the star of the dinner, the lobster, and all it’s accompaniments.   If I’m in Bordeaux again, I would re-visit to have the lobster again!

For more info on the lobster press, here’s a link.

Old School French at Benoit, Paris

We were in Paris in September and really wanted to try an old school French bistro so we decided to dine at Benoit, owned by the delightfully charming Alain Ducasse.  Wood paneled walls, clean crisp white tablecloths and waiters that are nice but slightly stand offish was exactly the atmosphere I was after.  Also, as you can see from the pics below, even the plates had the name of the restaurant printed on them – so French!

Something I noticed in France, was when they give you an amuse bouche or complimentary food item to whet your appetite, it’s almost like an entree serve in itself!   We were presented with fluffy cheese puffs and rabbit rilette with toast.   The cheese puffs were light and hollow, but packed a punch and the rilette was delicious (perhaps the best I’d ever had).

Now, I chose the foie gras as my entree, which came with a toasted brioche.  Whilst it tasted good, I was overwhelmed by the two slices that I had.  Being from Australia, you rarely get to eat more than 3 mouthfuls of foie gras.  I managed to eat one slice, and I felt terrible wasting such a divine piece of food.

My boyfriend chose the crayfish soup with creamy chives and the mouthful that I sampled was divine!   Tasted spectacularly of crayfish (surprise!).

For my main course, I chose sole with wilted spinach.  I was watching Masterchef Professionals UK and Michel Roux Jr. stated that this was one of his favorite dishes.   Sole is not something you can commonly get in Australia, so I had to give it a go!  It was fantastic.  The fish was firm and had a light sweet taste to it.  The sauce on top was a lobster bisque and the spinach and cream at the bottom was delicious.  

The boyfriend chose the beef fillet with marrow bordelaise sauce served on the side with a macaroni gratin.  The steak was cooked perfectly as was the side dish, and the marrow sauce (the star of the show) pulled it all together.

Dessert was the classic vanilla millefeuille, and I have to say, it was the best millefeuille I’ve ever had.  The layers were cooked to the point where it was just caramalised and has that burnt butter flavor and the cream inside was thick, rich and creamy.

One memorable part of this dinner was that menu’s are not available in English, so listening to the patient waiters translate it over and over again to the non-French was quite amusing.  I kept expecting them to throw the towel in and start swearing, but they kept their cool and pushed through.

All up, it’s exactly the charming bistro you would expect, complete with great French food.   The restaurant was packed on a Wed night.    I would definitely recommend it, and I would go again.